Obama gift tree to Peres won’t be uprooted

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The magnolia tree gifted from President Obama to Israeli President Shimon Peres will not have to be uprooted for approval by Israel’s Agriculture Ministry.

The ministry said Thursday that it would conduct the necessary tests in the garden of the president’s residence in Jerusalem rather than removing the tree from where it was planted a day earlier by Obama and Peres, according to a statement from Peres’ office.

Following the planting, reports surfaced that the ministry would require the tree to be dug up and brought in for quarantine and inspection, which is the protocol for bringing plants into the country in order to prevent the spread of new bugs and diseases.

Obama said he brought the tree with him on Air Force One.

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